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Preparing the Toddler to School | ParentEdge


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Preparing your Toddler for School

1Fact: Today, many children start school when they are a mere 18 months old!

This is, of course, preschool, which has become an extremely important part of a child’s schooling experience. Typically, children will join preschool at around two years of age, but many schools now also admit one and a half-year olds into their ‘Play Groups’. For most children, preschool is really the first time that they are on their own, without their caregivers, in an environment different from home. And it’s a huge change that they need to be well prepared for.

The importance of pre-schooling

Preschool has fast become an essential first step in a child’s education, for many reasons:

  • Preschool encourages the social and emotional development of a child – it encourages interaction with other children, and teaches him to share, become independent and make decisions. Children also learn how to control and manage frustration and anger.
  • It also promotes the development of basic language and cognitive skills. In preschool, the child’s vocabulary can grow by up to 2000 words. The child’s pre-math and pre-literacy skills are also given a boost, giving him a strong base for learning in kindergarten.
  • Teachers keep children gainfully engaged in a number of educational activities – matching, sorting, counting and board games that build their understanding of numbers, categories and sequence, which supports later maths learning. Solving puzzles encourages children to notice patterns, plan ahead and solve problems.
  • A good preschool provides more intellectual stimulation than the home environment can, with teachers initiating a variety of educational activities for the three hours that the child is at school.
  • Finally, parents may not have enough time to devote to the child, especially if both of them are working. Isn’t it better to enroll your child in preschool when he is old enough than leave him at home in front of the television with a nanny?

In short, preschool is a run-up to formal education – the hours are short and the activities engaging. Preschool prepares the child for regular ‘big’ schools – socially, emotionally and mentally. But how do you prepare your clinging toddler for preschool?

Prepare your child for change 

It’s perfectly natural to be anxious about sending your child to preschool for the first time. This is his first exposure to strange faces and unfamiliar environments without the comforting finger of his mother to hold on to. And children do need to be adequately prepared to face and handle this change. As every parent knows, just thrusting your child into a new situation has the potential for disaster – emotional upsets, crying, and withdrawal.


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